Dutch social enterprise, Fairphone has announced the launch of the Fairphone 4 — the world’s first modular 5G smartphone that is also a more sustainable, repairable and socially responsible device. The new 5G phone, available to pre-order now, is the next phase in the company’s journey to develop fair, long-lasting, high-quality devices and establish a market for ethical and fair electronics.
“We’re taking a completely different approach to manufacturing smartphones — we’re changing the way devices are made and used. We want to challenge the traditional way of designing devices, including the notion that thinner is better. The starting point in development was to produce a premium sustainable smartphone that is future-proof, easily repairable, designed to last and therefore more circular and fair. We want Fairphone 4 to be a device that people enjoy keeping for longer and that sets them apart from the crowd. Our customers are people who make independent choices to create positive change, and they choose Fairphone to accelerate that change,” said Eva Gouwens, CEO of Fairphone.
The Fairphone 4 comes with a massive five-year warranty at no additional cost, which the company says is to encourage people to use — and enjoy — their 5G phones for longer. As well as guaranteeing long-term availability of spare parts, software support is guaranteed until the end of 2025 and includes upgrades to Android 12 and Android 13. Fairphone says it actually aims to extend this even further, until the end of 2027, with upgrades to Android 14 and Android 15 despite support from the chipset supplier expiring.
Electronic waste neutral handset
Fairphone 4 is the first electronic waste neutral phone to be released — the company will compensate users’ phones and spare parts by responsibly recycling one phone, or an equal amount of small electronic waste, for every Fairphone 4 sold. Alternatively, Fairphone will take back and refurbish at least one other phone to prevent the production of a new one.
Fairphone has also expanded its list of fair materials and is now focusing on 14 key materials from sustainable and fairer sources, including fairtrade-certified gold, aluminium from Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, Performance Standard certified vendors, fair tungsten from Rwanda as well as recycled tin, rare earth minerals and plastics. Fairphone is the first smartphone brand to have a back cover made of 100% post consumer recycled polycarbonate.
“Fair sourcing means engaging and tackling issues in supply chains, such as child labour and unsafe working conditions, while driving opportunities for positive impact. For miners and workers, this means fair working conditions, such as a safe and healthy working environment, and access to personal protective equipment,” said Fairphone, in a press statement.
Fairphone 4 Specs
Fairphone 4 comes in a choice of 6GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage or 8GB of RAM with 256GB of internal storage. Running on Android 11, Fairphone 4 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chipset with future-proof 5G, to support the company’s principle of longevity. It boasts a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with Pixelworks technology and the display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for durability and resistance. Fairphone 4 has a 3,905 mAh battery, which is replaceable and can be charged to 50% in 30 minutes.
Designed with Swedish design agency Above, Fairphone 4, although not slim, is a good-looking 5G phone, sporting a tactile back cover and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. It features a 48MP main camera, a 48MP ultrawide camera, a 25MP selfie camera, fast autofocus and advanced image stabilisation for smooth video recording.
“We’re raising the bar for ourselves and the industry, showing that doing things more sustainably makes good business sense. Fairphone 4 is a unique product: the first ever electronic waste neutral device and with a five-year warranty. It shows the industry a different way of encouraging longevity and fairness while going way beyond the accepted standards. Fairphone 4 will be our biggest phone release to date, as interest in sustainable devices continues to grow, reflected in the hundreds of thousands of devices we’ve sold with each new phone. With Fairphone 4, we took what we’ve done in the past and packaged it into a future-proof product that takes the challenge for the entire industry to the next level,” said Eva Gouwens, CEO of Fairphone.
Fairphone 4 is available for pre-order now, via Fairphone’s website and selected partners, with an SRP of £499 for 6GB RAM/128GB internal storage, available in Grey and £569 for 8GB RAM/256GB internal storage, available in Grey, Green and Green Speckled (exclusively available on Fairphone.com). The two variants of the 5G phone will be released on 25 October and will be available across Europe.